New Analysis Finds Long-Term Teen Unemployment Remains A Problem

EPI Points To Recession, Wage Mandates As Primary Cause
  • Publication Date: May 2010

  • Topics: Teen Unemployment

WASHINGTON, D.C. – An Employment Policies Institute (EPI) analysis of new Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data found a 123 percent increase in the percentage of unemployed teens spending 6 months or more looking for work.

As of April 2010, 30.4 percent of all unemployed teens had spent 6 months or more searching for a job. As of April 2007, only 13.5 percent of unemployed teens spent that long looking for work. The full analysis is available here.

“Teens are spending more than half a year on their job search, but Congress continues to ignore a root cause of this problem – recent increases in the federal minimum wage,” said Michael Saltsman, research fellow at EPI.

Between July 2007 and July 2009, the federal minimum wage increased 40 percent.

Research from Ball State University holds this hike responsible for the elimination of over 300,000 teenage jobs, as employers faced with higher labor costs were forced to scale back on hours and employees.

These job-killing consequences of minimum wage hikes are well-documented in economic literature. And a recent University of New Hampshire survey of labor economists found strong agreement (73 percent) that mandated minimum wage hikes depress entry-level hiring.

“The solution to our teen unemployment crisis shouldn’t cost taxpayer dollars, or require pages and pages of legislative boilerplate,” Saltsman concluded. “It’s simple – Congress needs to heed the advice of economists, and roll back wage mandates that shut our teens out of work opportunities.”